These past few days have been incredible and I would be remiss if I did not write about them. I’ve met with a commercial agent and, more resounding for me, I served at Hillsong Conference for the past three days.
Last week I had this but feeling that this week would be pivotal, and I was right. The week began with a message from the lead pastor of my church speaking about persevering through the storm. It was the finishing of a larger message that he split up over a few Sundays. Basically the thrust of what he has been getting at in the sermon is, when God asked me to give up my life to follow Him, when He sent His son to die for me, to allow for me to serve, it stopped being about me.
We as a culture, as a species, are self focused. We are self centered, and we aim to be content (fat and happy). This is the basic human form, toiling through life reaching out for the untangible goal of being completely at ease, well fed, all desires met, etc. This was not our purpose from the beginning, our original design has been compromised. We were made to live in community with one another, to have companionship. When we are self focused we cannot genuinely have this authentic, interdependent community we were designed for.
It is known that the world is self interested, but the church has claimed to be more and quite honestly ought to be more. We have been reset, now we are still adjusting to the factory settings and we won’t be completely back to original design until we get the physical upgrade (more about sanctification later). Now, as I mentioned we as the church should be more cognizant of the need to be selfless and love others,for it is in fact part of the words of Jesus.
But we’re not doing it right, are we?
Pastor Carl spoke about how consumed we as Christians get about “self-care” and whether or not we feel at ease with a situation.
Now, let me explain. I think that in recent church history we have responded to a terrible feature of abuse of power and burnout with swinging to far in the opposite direction. In a way to avoid being “overused” we go on about self care and how God never meant for us to be abused. This is right, God never meant for us to be abused, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. There are a lot of things in life that God intended that we, humans, broke. God never tells us life is easy and anyone who tells you otherwise is speaking blasphemy.
God never said life would be easy, in fact what he said was quite the opposite, He said life would be hard, but He is good. He has promised to walk through those difficult areas in life with us, but that requires us to walk. God asks that we move through these situations, that we show endurance and perseverance in these times. That we would carry on and trust Him.
But what about unhealthy situations, what about God being a God of peace and not of strife, and confusion. You know what is amazing g about all the heroes of the Bible? Not those places where they were in an emotionally healthy environment or when they were content and at ease, but when they were in the chaos and confusion and God got them through. But they always had to move forward. Abraam would never have become Abraham, father of promise, if he had not left the comfort of Ur. I wonder how confused he was. Yet, he trusted God.
When God called me to New York, I was lost and confused, anxious. I was told that God is not a God of fear and that if it was Him I wouldn’t feel so much anxiety, that I would feel peace. I did feel peace, but you know what, I also felt afraid, terrified even. The peace I had was the one that went beyond understanding, that root at your core that tells you it’ll be fine,the Holy Spirit saying to trust. This is the marker of walking in faith (not that I am some great beacon of faith) but that we walk regardless of our feeling trusting that God will care for us.
When I signed up for serving at Hillsong I was asked to help lead a zone, a group of volunteer ushers. There were three of us leading and I was under the point person for our leadership trio, but on the first night I was the on!y one able to be present. I was nervous, afraid that I would mess up (which all of us did at some point, but there was a good learning curve). I didn’t start really feeling like everything was going well until halfway through worship. And in the loudness of the arena filled with people praising God, he spoke to me.
This is what I intended for you, this is a who you are, a leader, a mentor, I hate seeing you feeling so broken in your workplace, but I need you to keep going. Not forever but just a little while longer. Bring me to them by being this you I have created.
It was a great moment that resonated in my mind, even if I couldn’t pause on it right then (I started getting directions in my headset soon after) I knew it was what I needed, and I would chew on it. This moment happened after a tiring week. I hadnt slept much already and I knew I wouldn’t be going into this weekend. Then throughout this weekend I got about 6 hours of sleep over two nights. Physically I was exhausted, but I felt so energized just by being who I was meant to be and serving with all I had. I didn’t have anxiety that kept me from sleeping and I carried on.
Moral of the story. Serve, love with all you’ve got. God will fill you with what you need. Holding back, will only deplete your stores and capacity. Don’t avoid the storm, head into it knowing God has given me victory. Don’t become content outside the promised land afraid to face the giants who God has promised to defeat.
I could keep going but this is probably already too lengthy.